The signing of the agreement coincided with this week’s visit to Japan by Argentina’s president Mr Mauricio Macri.

The loan is cofinanced by the Tokyo branch of Deutsche Bank and covers 85% of the procurement cost for the system, which will be rolled out on all eight lines covering 1500km of track and 280 trains over the next four years.

The equipment is being procured through Marubeni Corporation and will be manufactured in Japan by Nippon Signal.

At present only 10% of the network is covered by ATS, but Argentinean Trains Infrastructure says the system will be extended to the Urquiza, San Martin, Belgrano Sur, Belgrano Norte and Sarmiento lines by next year, and the Mitre Line and Tren de la Costa by 2019.

The ATS programme is part of the Ministry of Transport’s $US 14.2bn Comprehensive Plan of Works for the Metropolitan Rail Network, which aims to triple urban rail capacity in Buenos Aires through the development of the Regional Express Rail (RER) network.